COLLECTOR FOR PASSION
Since I was a child, I grew up with a passion for the Disney © world.
One of the first photos portrays me to browse my father’s old Mickey Mouse comic at the age of about three, and from then I never stopped! During high school, my passion focused on comics to reach, during university, the “rubber creatures” that are none other than the protagonists of the cartoons and comics transposed in the three-dimensional rubber. The collection has become more and more important from year to year, and the missing pieces were increasingly rare and expensive.
The need to find the assets to reinvest, combined to the spirit of the collector in eternal research and my inside curiosity towards new experiences led me, during university studies, to attend as seller-hobbyist to several antique markets and fairs of the whole Triveneto, for years. I do not deny that it was a hard time: get up at dawn, with any climate and temperature, from the hottest heat to the winter frost, fights for the place, road accidents, fatigue, but it was also a useful “gym of life” that put me in touch with people of all ages, social extractions, and above all, passions. The comparison and exchange of opinions and information were on the agenda, like new contacts to increase my collection.
Thanks to the markets and the consequent contacts, I got to buy in 1994 a block of Disney © Ledraplastic © puppets of the 60s, initially with the idea to propose them for sale in the markets. But I was immediately entranced from them and decided to keep them home next to the collection of Mickey & Co. They were life, expression and word of my collection of comics!
I remember spending a lot of time admiring their shapes, studying their expressions, listening to their sounds, but above all by smelling the sweet smells of the ancient rubber that was emanated from that corner of the house reminding me a sort of children playground.
I decided to bring some double to markets and they did not last long, from this I realized that they were also admired and collected objects and that I was not the only one to find them incredibly beautiful. The following year I came into contact with Franco, the owner of Bambolandia, an antique doll shop in the historic center of Venice. He proposed me to buy 160 Ledraplastic © puppets as he wanted to free his warehouse. So, with great effort, I managed to load all the Rubber Creatures on my old Ford Sierra.
But not having enough boxes, dozens of pieces remained floating inside the car, I imagined them like they were alive, smiling and amused inside that carousel of metal that was my car, and also amused were the people who met me driving that old car loaded with hundred of rubber puppets! In addition to the Disney © Ledra © pieces, there were also puppets of other production firms, some Warner Bros © pieces, of Rubbertoys ©, other Hanna & Barbera © puppets, of Canova ©, and still others of minor brands.
So my collection expanded to the production of the genre in Italy, and then in the world.
Sometimes the puppet is hardly catalogable because it lacks any trademark or distinctive symbol. For these “characters in search of an author” I can only hypothesize a provenance looking to features and to the kind of rubber they are made of, which identifies the age and sometimes the firm who produced a certain piece. All these elements usually help to identify the production firm or at least the country of origin. However, I apologize in the event of errors of assessment or imperfections, but it is such a vast world that it becomes impossible not to fall into some subjective interpretation. In addition, there will certainly be some creature unknown by me (but perhaps known by others) resting in a hidden meander of an old building or in a haystack in disuse of a country house, forced to an anonymous existence forgotten by the world. I, therefore, ask for the collaboration of all of you collectors and enthusiasts in order to make this catalog as precise as possible, and any information will always be welcome.
Over the past 15 years, as you can see in the Press review section, I have collaborated with various magazines in the sector for articles on the Rubber Figure (see Il Curious, year X n ° 58 October 2003; Collect, year XXI n ° 3 March 2011; Curious year IV n ° 22 June 2009, La Gazzetta dell’Antiquariatoanno XVIII n ° 193 October 2012), I participated in radio interviews and above all, almost for fun, I printed in 2003 my first book-catalog for collectors: “Creatures of Rubber “, which was the only reference on the genre in Europe. In America there is: Squeaky Toys, A Collector’s Handbook and Price Guide. L. H. Mackenzie. Shiffer Books 1998 which catalogs all kinds of rubber puppets, not just cartoons.
Over the past 15 years, as you can see in the Press Review section, I have collaborated with several magazinesfor for articles on Rubber Toys (see “Il Curioso anno X n°58 Ottobre 2003″; “Collezionare year XXI n°3 Marzo 2011“; Il Curioso anno IV n°22 Giugno 2009; “La Gazzetta dell’Antiquariato, anno XVIII n°193 Ottobre 2012″).
I participated to some radio interviews and above all, almost for fun, I printed in 2003 my first book-catalog for collectors: “Creature di Gomma, which was the only reference on the genre in Europe. In America there is: “Squeaky Toys, A Collector’s Handbook and Price Guide”. L. H. Mackenzie. Shiffer Books 1998 which catalogs all kinds of rubber puppets, not just cartoons.
The publication of “Creature di Gomma” I hope had helped somehow those who appeared for the first time in this world, but certainly gave me the chance to meet hundreds of fans in the industry.
Subsequently, in 2013 I produced a new work: “Creature di Gomma – La Favola di Venezia” which represents an integration to the previous book, but also a new catalog for collectors as comprehensive as possible, full of information and considerations, curiosities and evaluations , but above all I wanted to combine in the most scenographic way possible (thanks to the art of photography of my friend Gianluca Zathila) my passion for the “squeaky toys”, to the love for my city, Venice, that, with the dued proportions (of course in his favor), I consider as unique and expressive, creative and nostalgic as most of our Gum Creatures!
Moreover, I collaborated with many Exhibitions and Museums like Triennale di Milano.
Today my collection has more than 5000 Rubber Toys (all strictly from the 50s to the 80s and exclusively about characters related to the world of cartoons, comics, Carosello, advertising and TV in general).
Now my dream is about to be realized: Creature di Gomma – Venice Vintage Toys Exposition, is becoming reality, and with the next opening, scheduled for 2019, in Campo San Stin, in the Historic Center of Venice, you will see the collection of a lifetime, which has become one of the most important in the world.
In the Exhibition will be present producing materials of the era, multimedia videos, original packaging, reference paper material (posters, catalogs and much more). Stay tuned!